Monday, March 30, 2009

Murphy's Law Monday!

Today was one of those Monday's where what could go wrong did go of those test days in life! Work was going fine until Neil realized he had my parking pass hanging from his truck mirror instead of my car. We swapped cars on Friday so he could take the Acura in for a service. Sure enough, a parking ticket stuck to my wind shield. $50 but $20 if I pay within 1 week. Next discovery, Neil does not have his wallet. He gave it to me last night on our way to the family party and then I left it in my vest pocket which was hanging over a stool in the kitchen! On our way to Trisch the trainer, the traffic was terrible with an over turned truck on route. The trainer was 20 minutes late. Once home tonight I found myself locked out of the house as Neil drove to the barn. I patiently waited for his return, hanging out in the garage! Just one of those days! It was a test!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Well Balanced Weekend!

Saturday morning we decided to do a shorter run (like a taper run!) for about 90 minutes. This meant we could accommodate a much needed gear shop in the afternoon. We have been invited for dinner to a fellow West Highland Way entrant who lives in North Vancouver. Finally Sat night the date worked for all! Since we were going to the North Shore it made good sense to open it up to an afternoon of shopping. Our first stop was North Shore Athletics where Peter did such a good job of showing me all the new models I actually bought 2 pairs! One for rough trails and the other for smoother trails. I also bought 2 pairs of socks and a box of "gels". Not just a couple of gels but the entire box of 24 packs of "Gu Expresso Love" with 2x the caffeine! Food for the Ultra Events! Now the decision will be which pair of shoes to wear next weekend for the 50 mile event! While at North Shore Athletics we saw Gary Robbins the local running hero who wins almost every event he enters. He seemed quite impressed that we were doing American River 50 miler next weekend since we have just done 2-50km events in the last few weeks. Neil explained that it doesn't hurt so much at our pace! He laughed! I also informed Gary that I have been following his blog and that I find it very inspirational for me. He blushed! The next stop was Park Royal Mall where we enjoyed cruising through Whole Foods (a very expensive food store!). We bought a couple of items for an appetizer for Sunday nights family dinner. Next stop a wine store we happen to stumble upon. Not much time left to get to the dinner engagement. Park Royal is a must go back soon shopping spot. We arrived at David and Julia's almost on time. Beautiful home, great food, very engaging conversation. The entire family, Julia and 3 children ages 8, 6 and 1 are going to Scotland in June to support David in his dream to run the West Highland Way. I was impressed how David balances his work, family life and Ultra Running. Ultra runners really get a lot done! that because the running helps us do that or was it there before we started running? Sunday mid-day we ran 2.5 hours. I wore the new blue/black Brooks Cascadia shoes. They felt good despite the rough terrain today. As Peter at North Shore Athletics reminded me we will be running 2 marathons one on a bike trail along the river, followed by a trail marathon next weekend so I think I will go with these. While reading a running magazine this afternoon I found an article that was talking about "engagement" the buzz word in the work place as well. The author mentioned that to get the most from any experience, you must be totally committed to and engaged in that experience. This is something I try to do whether at work or play. The payoff of learning to be fully engaged is that you will be able to "perform in the storm". To do this means trusting your past preparation and focusing all parts of yourself (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) on the task at hand. I have not mastered this art of full engagement but I am trying. When I am working, I work. When I play, I am playing. If it works, I'll become not just a better runner but a better person at work and play!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hill Run

OK, perhaps not the wisest but we ran a long hill tonight after the 9 hours this weekend. My calf muscles were very tight going up and were very relieved to head down! It was about 30 minutes up, some flat and the up section back down. We managed to fit the run in just before the skies opened up to very heavy rain. The trees were swaying and rustling in the wind. Good timing to get out of the woods! Planning our week day runs this week around hair cuts and weather!

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Trainer!

Warren our trainer is moving back to Victoria. I have been training with Warren for several years now. I initially "won" 10 training sessions with him through the Knee Knacker. It has been a good relationship and I wish him all the best! Neil joined the training sessions the year he did his first 100 miler, Western States. Tonight we had our second session with Tricia his replacement. She has a business that focuses on training wanna be Police and Fire Fighters. She was once a member of the Vancouver Police Department herself. Perhaps Warren felt we needed a tough one like her to keep us humble! She also has some experience working with the Running Room so she has met Ultra Runners before. She was aware of the distances we ran on the weekend and actually had us email her yesterday how we were feeling so she could plan our session for tonight. Tonight she focused on the foam roller to provide the myofacial massage to our tight muscles. She spent the session having us stretch all body parts and reviewed stretching each others hamstrings and butt muscles. I think the discipline of stretching is one of the most difficult things for runners to do consistently. We are so good at planning and following through with activities but fall hard when it comes to stretching. Tonight we are planning our runs for the week and plan to fit in some longer runs mid week. This means planning ahead and working around other commitments. So glad the days are longer to accomodate for longer evening runs!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No Blogging - Computer Troubles - 2nd Ultra to Report!

Well as the title suggests...the lap top crashed, the world ended, and now we are back connected to the Universe! I'm sure many can relate to this! Last weekend was a lower mileage week with the anticipation of another upcoming Ultra. As I mentioned in one of my January blogs I suffered from a bad virus in December and January. During that time I visited the DR. and was referred for a lung function test. Well 3 months later, last Thursday I finally had an appointment for the test! I was "diagnosed" several years ago with exercise induced asthma and noticed an "allergic response" asthma in the last year. I use Ventolin prior to running and always cross my fingers each run hoping I will be able to breathe well each run. I guess you live and adapt to what is "normal" to your daily living. Rick, the Respiratory Therapist (also a runner!) had me do several tests of inhaling and blowing into a machine. I could tell immediately by the look on his face my results were not good. I was sent home with a number to call to join the Asthma Clinic at the local hospital and strict instructions on how to use the Steroid Inhaler AM and PM and he gave me a "chamber" for the Ventolin. He was not happy with my lung function capabilities! I happened to mention I was running a 50km trail run this Saturday and he highly recommended I do not run those distances until my irritated airways have improved through intense drug therapy. Wow...those are heavy words for an Ultra Runner to take in. I discussed the news with Neil and we decided to try the medication as recommended and see how I feel Saturday AM. The alarm went at 4AM Saturday morning for the trip across the border to the Chuckanut 50km trail run. It was clear and cold and I decided to give it a go. (As runners do!) The cold air was irritating to the lungs and I noticed my breathing was very shallow. Neil decided to stay with me for this one and packed the Inhalers! We enjoyed the drier conditions on the route than previous years and finished in 7:17, 10 minutes faster for me than last year. I was proud of this one with all things considered! After the run we were delayed at the border for 90 minutes coming back into Canada. Andy joined us in the "fun car" for the journey. We always enjoy his company and he is a very strong runner at the front of the pack! We went to an "after party" at Chad and Marla's where there was a large crowd wishing Mike well in his retirement and move to Gabriola Island. Mike is a great person and one of the original local running club members. Today Neil and I went out for 2 hours in Golden Ears Park. Beautiful spring weekend for running! Great mileage and a total of over 9 hours of running this weekend. We are doing a 50 miler in Sacramento in 2 weeks so we needed this mileage!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

First 50 in 2009!

Yesterday Neil and I completed the Dirty Duo 50km run. The weather forecast for the day was terrible with predictions of rain/snow and high winds. We woke at 4AM to the sounds of ice rain hitting the window. I lay there thinking do I really want to run 50k in this today? By 5AM it was much calmer and by 6AM the skies were starting to clear and it turned into a beautiful clear but cold winters day. Neil and I decided to try running this event together. We run together (or should I say he waits at strategic points) all the time in training but have only attempted it once before at this exact event 2 years ago in the 25km event. I recall that it did not go that well 2 years ago but yesterday it worked well. The purpose in practicing running in events together is for the potential that we may do this for the West Highland Way, 95 mile run in Scotland. Yesterday we opted for the early 7:30am start. There were 5 of us early starters in total. It was clear and cold, I wore my head band, gloves and jacket all day. The course had snow throughout and in areas quite deep. Good thing we have had lots of practice running in the snow lately. It was so beautiful and quiet, no one on the trails but us. After awhile the rest of the 50km runners started to catch up with us. It was amazing to see the leaders fly up the hills making it look effortless. The next wave of runners were those in the 25km event. They were moving quite quickly compared to us. This event also has a bike race component that tackle the course in the opposite direction so we soon found ourselves dodging bikes as they came flying down the hill at what appeared to be completely out of control. Nearing the end of the event the 15km runners join the course. At one point I heard some very heavy breathing behind me and I thought a runner was about to be sick when I turned around to discover it was our friend Chad who was participating in the 15km event. It was an attempt to get my attention and that it did! Neil, Chad and I ran the last 5km or so together. It was a nice way to end the event having Chad run us in. Marla was waiting at the finish with their dog Ella. Marla and I both did this event last year but her achilles tendon has been bothering her lately so she is staying off the hills for now. I felt a little "queasy" at the end so we opted for a quick change of clothes in the car and a coffee and scone with Chad and Marla before heading home. This event is one with lots of variety of terrain despite it being 2 loops for the 50k. You pass by a few aid stations several times and there is an out and back long flat run section that you do 3 times which was deep in snow this year. I recall several years ago doing the 25k for the first time thinking that the 50k would be impossible. Well it feels good to say that 2 years in a row I have completed the Dirty Duo 50km event! Oh and the running together with Neil went very well. He was very patient all day. At one point he commented that we still had a long way to go and I caught him out on his negative words. Another interesting strategy I had was I did not look at my watch the entire route. The only clock I saw was the finishing clock that read 6:51 when we crossed the line.